Billy Bambrough Contributor- Forbes
The world's biggest bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, is in talks to acquire popular crypto data site CoinMarketCap, it has been reported. The deal, said to be in final stages, looks set to see Malta-based Binance pay as much as $400 million for U.S.-based CoinMarketCap, according to bitcoin and crypto news and analysis website The Block, which broke the news. Binance, the world's biggest bitcoin and crypto exchange by volume, has been eyeing expansion around ... [+] LIGHTROCKET VIA GETTY IMAGESThe Block reports the massive deal is expected to be announced later this week and that CoinMarketCap's ability to drive "a significant amount" of web traffic is a major reason for Binance's interest, citing people familiar with the matter. Today In: Crypto & Blockchain "I wonder how Binance is going to deal with the obvious conflict of interest," Larry Cermak, The Block's director of research said via Twitter, warning that CoinMarketCap will no longer be impartial but that it already doesn't have a good reputation among the bitcoin and crypto community. "Who would ever trust CoinMarketCap after this," asked Eugene Ng, head of sales at Matrixport and former trader at Deutsche Bank, via Twitter, adding the deal doesn't make sense to him. "A stake from Binance might likely work better than an acquisition, just defeats the purpose of having a balanced and neutral index aggregator." The chief executive of Binance, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), earlier this year teased two "major" acquisitions in the company pipeline that he is "very excited" about—adding he expects the deals to have a "significant impact" on the sector. "As the saying goes, when you can’t beat them, buy them," CZ wrote to Binance users in January. "When we identify top talent with a top product that we can’t beat, and the teams share common values, a merger makes sense in most cases. There are always a number of deals being discussed at any given time, and there are 2 that I am very excited about specifically. We will announce them in due time."
Binance made nine acquisitions in 2019, with "only a small number of them being publicly announced so far," CZ said. Binance has been focused on expansion around the world in recent years, taking its services to the U.S. in 2019. This will be Binance's fifth major acquisition, according to data from Crunchbase. If the Binance bid for CoinMarketCap goes through it would be one of the largest ever in the burgeoning bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry and a sign it's beginning to mature. Binance declined to comment when asked about the deal.